• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
Yay Questions
 

Yay Questions

on

  • 3,090 views

Does your organization appreciate the things you’ve learned? Do you applaud colleagues who do their jobs well? All too often organizations live by the day, from one crisis to another, and they ...

Does your organization appreciate the things you’ve learned? Do you applaud colleagues who do their jobs well? All too often organizations live by the day, from one crisis to another, and they forget to take note of the good things that happened. By asking two important questions at the start of your meetings, you can start looking for things to celebrate.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
3,090
Views on SlideShare
2,152
Embed Views
938

Actions

Likes
7
Downloads
124
Comments
0

1 Embed 938

http://www.management30.com 938

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Yay Questions Yay Questions Presentation Transcript

    • YAYQUESTIONS1(C)2010ANTHONYCRAMP,CREATIVECOMMONS2.0WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/ANTHONYCRAMP/4428561177YAYQUESTIONSMANAGEMENT 3.0 WORKOUT© 2013 JURGEN APPELOMANAGEMENT30.COM/YAY-QUESTIONS
    • 2It’s important that someone celebrateour existence… People are the onlymirror we have to see ourselves in.The domain of all meaning. All virtue,all evil, are contained only in people.There is none in the universe at large.Lois McMaster Bujold, American author (1949)
    • YAYQUESTIONS3Does your organizationappreciate the things you’velearned? Do you applaudcolleagues who do theirjobs well? All too oftenorganizations live by the day,from one crisis to another,and they forget to take noteof the good things thathappened. By asking twoimportant questions at thestart of your meetings, youcan start looking for thingsto celebrate.A few years ago I discussed some organizational challenges withmy former CEO, and I noted the employees in our company rare-ly took time to enjoy their successes. People were always workinghard and they never seemed to celebrate the things that went well.I suggested that maybe we should have a big bell in the office,so that we could ring it whenever there was something to celebrate.The idea of a bell came to my mind because I wanted somethingthat would be visible, inviting, and impossible to ignore when used.(C)2012JURGENAPPELO
    • 4One week later, to my big surprise, the CEO brought me a coppership’s bell and said, “Here’s your bell. Now do something useful withit.” I convinced the office manager to hang it in the middle of ourbig open office space, and I let everyone in the company know thatevery employee was allowed to ring the bell, if they had somethingto celebrate.From that moment, every few weeks or so, someone would enthu-siastically yank on the rope, for signing a government contract,deploying a .NET web application, or for something less strenuous,such as running a marathon, or birthing a baby. Any reason wasvalid. (I once rang the bell for having more visitors on my blog thanthe company had on its website. It was just my excuse to enjoy an-other celebration.)When the sound of the ship’s bell blared through the office, all em-ployees immediately got together for a 10-minute celebration. Ourpeople knew that the bell was often a signal for free cake or cook-ies, which probably contributed to the quick and easy gathering ofthe entire work force around the coffee machine. The person whorang the bell then usually took a few minutes to explain what wasbeing celebrated. There was enthusiastic applause. Yay! And thenthe eating started. The last time I heard the bell was when the CEOannounced my departure from the company.if they had something to celebrate.Every employee was allowed to ring the bell,(C) 2012 NIGEL HOWE, CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/LEGIN101/6739605779
    • YAYQUESTIONS5Successes and Failures,Mistakes and PracticesBefore we turn to a deeper discussion about good reasons for celebra-tions,Ithinkit’snecessarytoconsidertherelevanceofsuccessandfailure.The first (and last) time I organized a school party, together with a fel-low pupil, it was a terrible disaster. The kids in my class unanimouslyand unforgivingly agreed that it was boring, and they all left early. Wecall that a failure. The outcome was not what we had intended. In mydefense I can only say I had never organized a school party before, andthat we learned a great deal. For example, I learned that 30 kids will notdance to the shrieks of Barbra Streisand when played from one flimsycassette recorder.The first (and hopefully last) time I organized a wedding, together withmy spouse, the results were positively memorable. People called it agreat success. The two astounding wedding locations, and the three dif-ferent outfits we appeared in, are fixed forever in everyone’s memories.Again, I had never done this before, and we learned many things. Forexample, I learned that 100 guests will dance if you play at least onesong by the Village People, played on professional equipment, and sup-ported by swirling balloons, soap bubbles, and laser lights.If we organized another wedding (which we won’t) we would probablyrepeat many of the things we did the first time. Basically, we would fol-low a “recipe for success”, or in other words, a number of good practicesthat we have discovered. Naturally, whatever you do, there is never aguarantee for success. You just use recipes and practices to increaseyour chance at succeeding.If I organized another school party (even less likely than another wed-ding) and I applied the same approach as I did the first time, it wouldbe a big mistake, or a “recipe for disaster”. A mistake is something youdo despite knowing that it will probably not work. When you make amistake, you learn nothing [Godin, “The Difference between a Failureand a Mistake”]. OK, that may not be entirely true. You might learn thatyou’re an idiot, because you wasted time validating that, like the last sixtimes, your approach still doesn’t work.(C)2011KARELGIESEN
    • 6Learn from ExperimentsSome writers claim that “we only learn from failure” or that weshould “allow ourselves to fail” [Watson, “Celebrate Failure”]. Otherpeople claim that we should “focus on successes” and that “successbreeds success” [Fried, “Failure Is Overrated”].The truth is, quite literally, right in middle.Information theorists have discovered that systems learn mostwhen failure rates are around 50% [Reinertsen, Principles of ProductDevelopment Flow]. In other words, when your experiments haveboth a chance of succeeding and a chance of failing, they generatethe most information for you to learn from.Either excessive or insufficient probability of failurereduces the efficiency with which we generateinformation. […]Avoid oversimplifications, like “eliminate failures” or“celebrate failures.” There is an optimum failure rate.Donald Reinertsen, Principles of Product Development Flow
    • YAYQUESTIONS7We learn most when we can’t predict wheth-er our experiments will lead to good or badoutcomes. Apparently, failure and successare orthogonal to learning. What we learnfrom most are the experiences we’ve neverhad before, such as (in my case) organizinga school party or a wedding. When all wedo is just repeating established practices,it is hard to know if we could do any better.Likewise, if all we do is making the samemistakes, then we’re not learning much ei-ther. Optimal learning happens somewherein the middle.A learning organization should not aim tominimize the amount of failure. Reducingfailure would reduce learning. Of course,maximizing failure also makes no sense.What we should maximize is the understan-ding of our problems, which happens byexperiencing both successes and failures.We should celebrate learning, not successesor failures.No amount of examplesof successes or failuresis indicative of one’spotential performance. Itall depends on your owneffort and understandingof your own problems.W. Edwards Deming,Out of the Crisisnot successes or failures.We should celebrate learning,
    • 8Emphasize GoodPracticesIn many working environments people’sfocus is usually is on fixing problems. Thismakes sense, because continuous improve-ment allows organizations to survive andthrive. However, a focus on things that couldbe improved usually comes down to a focuson failures and mistakes, and this mindsetcan have some serious side effects. Being aperfectionist, I have sometimes been guiltyof this myself. I have “raised the bar” for meand for others until the bar was so high thatGodzilla could do a limbo dance underneathwhile carrying a space shuttle.However, I noticed a strange thing when Iurged people to stop screwing up. I foundthis didn’t motivate them at all! I realizedgetting better isn’t just about reducing whatgoes wrong (making mistakes). It’s also aboutincreasing what is right (using good practic-es). And every now and then people need areminder that they’re doing just fine.It’s no wonder the culture in many organ-izations feels negative when the focus ofdiscussions is mainly on mistakes and prob-lems. Workers feel they are held accountablefor not being perfect. Instead of having aconstructive view on improvement, peopleend up with a defensive frame of mind. Theyevade taking responsibility, and for everyperceived problem they point at otherswho must have caused it. Because people’sminds are focused on self-defense instead ofimprovement, things will not get any better,and the organization will just make moremistakes.I believe we should emphasize the goodrecipes over the mistakes, because you getmore of what you focus on [Alberg, “Howto Celebrate Success throughout Your Pro-jects”]. Few people seem to realize that youoften get more of the things you focus on[Eckel, “You Get What You Measure”]. If youfocus on mistakes, people will make moremistakes. If you focus on good practices,people will invent more good practices.It seems evident to me that we should em-phasize the good behaviors, not the badones. We should celebrate good practices,not punish mistakes.We should celebrategood practices,not punish mistakes.
    • YAYQUESTIONS9Yes, you are! Constructive criticism can be quite useful. Though research hasshown that negative feedback is more effective on experts than on novices [GrantHalvorson, “Sometimes Negative Feedback Is Best”]. Of course, it’s OK to let no-vices know when they made a mistake, but their performance will increase muchfaster when you focus on their good behaviors. On the other hand, it appears thatexperts will usually appreciate it better to know where they went wrong. But theytoo appreciate a pat on the back every now and then.Am I notallowedto offer people somecriticism?
    • 10Emphasize Good PracticesWe’ve now seen that there are two possible reasons for celebrations.We can celebrate when we learned something, regardless of whetherthe outcome was a success or a failure. And we can celebrate whenwe repeated good practices, probably resulting in a predictablygood outcome. The areas of potential celebrations are colored greenin the accompanying illustration. I call it the celebration zone(consisting of regions B, C and E).You can help people to focus on the celebration zone by askingthem these two “yay!” questions:1. What did we do well? (by following practices)2. What did we learn? (by running experiments)Instead of questioning things that went wrong, it’s often better to askwhat worked well [McCrimmon, “Celebrating Success at Work”].This emphasizes that you want to share good recipes, not mistakes.It’s OK for people to discuss practices that are already widely known.Reinforcing good recipes makes it more likely that others will applythem too (region C). Even when, despite people’s best efforts, the out-come of a good practice was a failure, you may still consider celebra-ting that at least they did their best (region F).The second question is about the tests and experiments that peo-ple performed, where they couldn’t easily predict the outcome. Hereit is important that both successes and failures are discussed in equalmeasure. It is true that you can learn much from failure. But it’s alsotrue that you learn from having success. That’s why your attentionshould be divided equally among both (regions B and E).The two questions are both reasons for celebration. You celebrate toreinforce good behaviors. And you celebrate to reinforce learning.OUTCOMEBEHAVIORMISTAKES EXPERIMENTSLEARNINGNOLEARNINGYOU LUCKYBASTARD!WTF,DUDE YOUSCREWED UP!WHERE’SYOUR BRAIN?OKYOU FAILEDBUT YOULEARNED! ARGH,BAD LUCK!YAY, YOUSUCCEEDEDAND YOULEARNED!YAY, YOUSUCCEEDEDBY DOINGTHE RIGHTTHINGS!NOLEARNINGPRACTICESWHAT DIDWE DO WELL? WHAT DIDWE LEARN?
    • YAYQUESTIONS11When you have regular meetings withcolleagues, such as one-on-ones, stand-upmeetings, retrospectives, or weekly Skypecalls, I suggest you make it a habit of start-ing with these two “yay!” questions. Everytime.Starting conversations with these questionshas several benefits. First, it gives peoplepermission to brag a little about their goodwork and what they learned. This helpsthem to feel good about themselves. By em-phasizing positive things, the atmosphereimproves, and people will feel more at easetalking about some of their failures and mis-takes later on.Second, it motivates people to be mindfulabout the good recipes they applied and thethings they learned, so they have somethingto share in the next conversation. Everyoneshould understand their job is not just to re-duce mistakes and failures. More important-ly, their job is to learn good practices, andshare them with their colleagues.Indeed, the same questions exist in other contexts too.For example, change management experts know that oneof the first questions to ask in any change program is,“Where are things going well?” closely followed by “Howdo we get feedback?” [Appelo, How to Change the World].They are very similar questions, but in a different format.Another example is the Perfection Game, a useful feed-back technique for trainers and facilitators. It asks peo-ple “How well do you like what we did?” followed by “Ifit’s not perfect, how can we do even better?” [McCarthy,Software for your Head] [Van Cauwenberghe, “We ExpectNothing Less Than Perfection”]. Again, they are two si-milar questions, but in a different context.Actually, this all sounds quitefamiliar!
    • 12(C) 2007 CHRIS BREEZE, CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/92833011@N00/1160780781
    • YAYQUESTIONS13Celebrate!Any answers to the two questions could be a trigger for acelebration. Has the new employee correctly inserted thefoobar into the goobase? Celebrate! Did a team member’s daringexperiment result in a great insight? Yay! Applaud the one whovaliantly helped a customer with an important shortcut which savedtheir data, even though it regrettably got fifty other customersdisconnected. Perhaps you even want to ring the bell for the personwho stupidly deleted all invoices, because it enabled the networkadministrators to improve their backup procedures.In some environments,when you start askingthe two questions,positive events areharder to findthan a Pythonprogrammer ina Miss Universecontest. Maybethat’s becausethere isn’t that muchgood news to share in thefirst place, or because peopledon’t consider their good be-haviors and learning outcomesto be worth celebrating. I suggestyou don’t take for granted whatpeople do. Make every small stepworth mentioning.When you celebrate things, keep the following suggestions in mind:1. Celebrate frequently. Every day can be a day to ask thetwo questions. Every day can be a reason to celebrate. Don’tjust drool all over the big achievements. Pay attention to thesmall things too. When everyone is on time for a meeting,celebrate! When the CEO published his first blog post,“Yay!” When Juanita didn’t utter a curse for a whole week,“Woohoo!”2. Celebrate noticeably. Make sure celebrations are visible(or loud), so that everyone can see (or hear) what is beingcelebrated and why. Turn your celebrations into informationradiators. With a bit of luck, other parts of the organizationwill follow your good example. It is hard not to go with theflow when a good vibe washes all over you.3. Celebrate remarkably. Target multiple senses with your ce−lebrations. Be remarkable by introducing your own uniquerituals. You can ring a bell, throw confetti, launch balloons,share chocolates, or flash some disco lights, and play a Vil−lage People song. By turning celebrations into little ritualsthey will become part of the organizational culture.When I wrote the first draft of this text Ischeduled a visit to my former employer’soffice. The bell was still there. They rang itjust a week before, to celebrate an importantproduct release, and the 5-year anniversariesof several employees who, unlike me, did notleave the company.Make every small stepworth mentioning.Don’t take for grantedwhat people do.
    • 14What now?Try this when you want to get started celebrating things:1. Draw the celebration zone on a whiteboard and discuss it.2. For each of the regions, ask people for a few concrete examples.3. Start asking the two questions, “What did we do well?” and “What did we learn?”4. Decide how you’re going to celebrate what you learned and what you practiced, in a way that is noticeable, remarkable, and fun.
    • YAYQUESTIONS15(C) 2011 NATHANMAC87, CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/NATHANMAC87/5879576562
    • 16Experiment nowStart asking the “yay!” questionsregularly in order to find out whatyou could celebrate. Appreciate thethings people learn, and reinforcethe good practices that are applied,in a way that is noticeable, remarka-ble, and fun.Express yourselfDid you experiment with the two celebration questions? Do you havesome interesting examples to share? Do you have questions, or tips onhow to improve this practice?Via www.management30.com/yay-questions you can find discussionson Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
    • YAYQUESTIONS17Explore for freeOn www.management30.com/workout we aregrowing a collection of great management work-out practices. Visit the site to find out whichother articles, exercises, games, and downloadsare available for you. And remember, all materi-als are available for free!Experience itDo you want to see the workoutpractices in action? Management3.0 events are organized all overthe world by many internationalfacilitators. From two-day coursesto four-hour workshops, all eventsmake a lasting impression. Atwww.management30.com/eventsyou can find the full calendar.
    • 18References• ALBERG, AMY. “HOW TO CELEBRATE SUCCESS THROUGHOUT YOUR PROJECTS” <HTTP://BIT.LY/I94FWZ> MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. 21 MAY 2008. WEB.• APPELO, JURGEN. HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD: CHANGE MANAGEMENT 3.0. ROTTERDAM: JOJO VENTURES BV. 2012. PRINT.• DEMING, W. OUT OF THE CRISIS. CAMBRIDGE: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, CENTER FOR ADVANCED ENGINEERING STUDY, 1986. PRINT.• ECKEL, BRUCE. “YOU GET WHAT YOU MEASURE” <HTTP://BIT.LY/PC0CWQ> REINVENTING BUSINESS. 2 AUGUST 2011. WEB.• GODIN, SETH. “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAILURE AND A MISTAKE” <HTTP://BIT.LY/U7UX2E> SETH’S BLOG. 18 DECEMBER 2011. WEB.• GRANT HALVORSON, HEIDI. “SOMETIMES NEGATIVE FEEDBACK IS BEST” <HTTP://BIT.LY/WBZ8KF> HBR BLOG NETWORK. 28 JANUARY 2013. WEB.• FAST COMPANY. “CELEBRATE FAILURE” <HTTP://BIT.LY/G9D7RA> FAST COMPANY. 21 NOVEMBER 2005. WEB.• FRIED, JASON. “FAILURE IS OVERRATED, A REDUX” <HTTP://BIT.LY/41FFOK> SIGNAL VS. NOISE. 23 MARCH 2009. WEB.• MCCARTHY, JIM. SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD: CORE PROTOCOLS FOR CREATING AND MAINTAINING SHARED VISION. BOSTON, MA: ADDISON-WESLEY, 2002. PRINT.• MCCRIMMON, MITCH. “CELEBRATING SUCCESS AT WORK” <HTTP://BIT.LY/INVGWZ> SUITE101.COM. 9 APRIL 2008. WEB.• REINERTSEN, DONALD. THE PRINCIPLES OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FLOW: SECOND GENERATION LEAN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT. REDONDO BEACH: CELERITAS, 2009. PRINT.• VAN CAUWENBERGHE, PASCAL. “WE EXPECT NOTHING LESS THAN PERFECTION” <HTTP://BIT.LY/I9I0IH> THINKING FOR A CHANGE. 12 AUGUST 2006. WEB.Jurgen Appelo is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in Agileorganizations, and How to Change the World, which describes a model for organizational change. This articlewill be part of the upcoming book Management Workout, to be published in 2013. Jurgen Appelo is also theauthor of the Management 3.0 course, which is available in many countries.More information about the books and course is available on www.management30.comHTTP://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/MANAGEMENT30HTTP://WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/GROUPS/MANAGEMENT-30-4074448HTTP://PLUS.GOOGLE.COM/U/0/117055317275223396630HTTP://TWITTER.COM/MANAGEMENT30